Central Coast Wine Classic at the magnificent Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa in Shell Beach California is a 4 day culinary and wine journey that promotes education and the arts for the Central Coast of California. For over 20 years this event has raised funds for the arts and brings together food and wine lovers from across the country for the common good of many.
As the “sea smoke” rolled across the rolling hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we again were reminded of the special terrior that makes up this unique growing area for superb wines and agriculture
For those visiting the area, a deep appreciation and love develops for the bounty that the Central Coast offers. Our four days of enjoying the pristine beauty and produce of this region began with culinary icon Emeril Lagasse. Being an advocate for the “farm to table” movement for years, Emeril shares an affinity with this region. We were privileged to enjoy a luncheon with this great American Chef and entrepreneur.
As the tables were set up under the white tents, the participants checked into the event to partake of the cuisine prepared by the premier chef.
Emeril came into the event with much fanfare and then explained the menu as one that would incorporate sustainable and organic ingredients. Hosting the event was Narsai David, who offered many interesting insights on the culinary culture of the Central Coast while assisting Emeril during the presentation. Au Bon Climat, Clendenen Family Vineyards, Jim Clendenen vintner provided the amazing wines that paired well with each dish.
Our first dish was that of seared diver scallops with oranges, olives, capers and fennel puree. This was paired this Au Bon Climat 2003 Bien Nacido Vineyard “Santa Barbara Historic” Vineyards Collection” Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay.
The main course was a roasted chicken with sorrel cream sauce. The sorrel blended a mustardy tanginess to the buttery cream sauce. The Au Bon Climat 2006 Pinot Noir was a good match for this hardy yet delicate dish of lovely roasted chicken and cream sauce.
Our third and final course was a Rustic Blackberry Cobbler that was prepared with locally grown organic blackberries. This dessert was sumptuous and slightly tart, pairing well with the Caro Lorenzo Aleatico.
For those who are not familiar with an Aleatico, it is an Italian red grape that creates wines that have a rich, well-rounded sweetness. When fortified as liquorices, Aleatico, can be served like a port.
After Chef Lagasse carefully explained how to prepare each dish for our much awaited luncheon, he then answered questions from the audience. One question that was asked is, “What preparation do you recommend for a young person who would like to become a chef.” Chef Emeril was quick to point out that the industry is one in which you will work long hours when others are not working. You must have passion and desire and discipline to succeed at this industry. Exposure to the restaurant industry is a must along with a great culinary education ,personal passion and focused discipline to be a successful chef .
Chef Emeril became a culinary icon by living what he believes. We were glad to catch up with Emeril again this lovely venue. His love for sustainable, organic , local food came across to the adoring foodie fans and we were glad to apart of this special educational and delicious luncheon.